Apple has offered a very basic Find My AirPods feature for several years, but that only worked when the devices were close enough to have a Bluetooth connection to your phone. Otherwise, the only thing you can do is see where they were when they were last connected to one of your devices.
iOS 15 will offer a true Find My AirPods feature, but don’t expect to see it today …
We explained last month how this will work.
Similar to AirTags, iOS 15 will use Bluetooth technology to precisely locate AirPods when you’re near them but don’t know exactly where the earphones are located. This feature will be available for both AirPods Pro and AirPods Max and will also show the current AirPods location on the map even when they’re not connected to your iPhone or iPad.
To achieve this, the AirPods will finally be tied to your Apple ID. As spotted by 9to5Mac in the iOS 15 internal code, lost AirPods will continue to send their location to the owner through the Find My Network even if someone else connects them to another device.
It’s important to point out that, despite being tied to an Apple ID, AirPods will not have an activation lock like iOS devices. This system will be more like what Apple currently offers with AirTag, which is tied to an Apple account but can be reset with a few manual steps. 9to5Mac also found new animations included with iOS 15 beta 5 that show how to remove AirPods from Find My Network.
Apple included this feature in its iOS 15 page:
Find My network support for AirPods. Use the Find My network to get an approximate location of your missing AirPods Pro or AirPods Max. This will help you get within Bluetooth range so you can play a sound and locate them.
However, iOS developer Michael Burkhardt discovered a small but crucial change to this text: an asterisk at the end. That asterisk leads to a footnote:
* Coming later this fall.
He used the Wayback Machine to verify that the asterisk was indeed a change to the page. There’s no clue as to the reason, but it’s just one of a number of iOS 15 features that won’t be available when the update rolls out today. Other examples include SharePlay and ID cards in Apple Wallet.